Friday, May 30, 2008

playing the house, spring ahead

With a repurposed pump organ, David Byrne is turning the huge Battery Maritime Building in NYC into an instrument for visitors to play.

My brother kindly emailed me about the cool writeup in today's New York Times. It includes a nice video with near & far views of the instrument, including closeups of solenoid-driven strikers and the keyboard being played.

And there's a post on BoingBoing that has a nice exterior picture of the building. UPDATE: Synthtopia posts interesting video of the installation.

Byrne's installation brings to mind The Great Stalacpipe Organ of Luray Caverns. As well as artist Tim Hawkinson's Uberorgan which I was lucky to see at the MASS MoCa several years back.

Also along the lines of funky clunkyness, The Music of Sound has a vid of a musician/composer/sound designer's fun with a contact mike and a bowed metal spring.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

estimated speed

PCL LinkDump sends out the happy vibes of The Super Preachers. Also this vid of Mongoloid.

Meanwhile, Laurie Anderson brings things coast to coast and up to speed with Mach 20 (thanks to k8fan):

Saturday, May 24, 2008

yet another moon in June

As unterkayness has malingered for well nigh unto a year, here are a few timely resuscitations from June '07 . . .

The dulcet tones of Miz Jolene Sugarbaker on the Onmichord:

The lovely & talented Deni Bonet with some anonymous muso (more links & yammering here):

One of several live videos of the Loved Ones:

The one & only Wilko Johnson:

The not so quiet storm that is DNA:

One of two videos for the Shaggs' "My Pal Foot Foot":

Friday, May 23, 2008

striking bowls, bending water

The Music of Sound has posted a great vid of Tomoko Miyata playing tuned water bowls. Very recommended.

heterodyning on the fly

Perhaps you've left your theremin in your other jacket. It happens to everyone some lost weekend or another--no need for it to be the day the Earth stood still.

Synthtopia posts a vid on how to make one the MacGyver way with three AM radios.

Now your audience will be spellbound.

mix it up

One of this week's reasons to be cheerful on I'm Learning To Share! is this fine Muxtape posting, Swedish feminist songs.

Indeed, as it sounds overall like a cool missing link 'tween Sandy Denny and The Raincoats, I'm feeling cheerful too (even tho' comprehension of the lyrics would likely complicate my impression).

in a land without Netflix

Funky Junk Trunk has not one but two cool foreign pop siren vids well beyond my ken. For less DX transmissions there's Nichelle Nichols as Uhura on the cover of Ebony and Charles Nelson Reilly in a world gone bananas. Meanwhile twins get all James Rosenquist on Coke.

On an adjacent frequency, FABULON is calling all go-go records. And giving to the young and forgetful the full meaning of "broadcast" with a long & ever shifting Beatles medley featuring Cher, Tina Turner, Kate Smith and (if I'm not hallucinating) Tim Conway. Before cable and the death of the last pterodactyls, this was it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

a world at play

I'm Learning To Share! takes us into the fun world of Kimono My House where Anime toys and florid depictions of Randolph Scott and Apollo 11 abide.

plays exorobotic havoc on the prairie.

Catherine Carter squares off while son of the forest John Borowicz bends paint and carbon to ironic form.

On FABULON, June Allyson dances while attempting to guide her partner from the primrose path.

The Boat Lullabies
posts the papers & pics of seemingly unlikely knights-errant who sought both to rule the macadam and serve other motorists.

gives us a 1959 version of how dreadful leisure could be.

posts about the wigged out sampler toy, Sound Candy.

Juan Matos Capote is having his own more serious speaker fun with his piece Gold & Noise, now showing at Dak'Art 08 in Dakar, Senegal.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

pruned and multiplied

Pruned just posted some interesting links, including a Subtopia post on the Green Belt created along the former East/West German border.

And if I understand correctly, Au carrefour étrange has a new sister blog, french book covers.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

from JPL to the LSD

I found the sad news on The World Of Kane about the recent death of actor John Phillip Law.

From there I wandered to the Wikipedia entry on Skidoo, an "acid comedy" Law starred in. And found among the external links an intriguing article of Paul Krassner's, "My Acid Trip with Groucho".

Drawing from his encounters with folks like Groucho Marx and Squeeky Fromme, Krassner has plenty to say.

spring and springlike things

Spring is warming things up.

Concrete Beat demonstrates the further thawing of the NYC subway with vids of Baby Soda, quite a trad jazz ensemble of accordion, washboard percussion, trumpet, upright bass and acoustic guitar.

If you view such talent with the dolorous question "Gee, how can I ever play that well?", Failed Muso has found the answer in a suite of fantabulous fixer-upper modules. The Make Sound Like (MSL) unit, with the special feature of making one's music sound more or less like the Beatles, seems an absolute boon to the cause of pop band (non-)emulation.

Excuse me while I set mine to "Eno" and pump through 26 years of music. And look forward to some boutique offshoots like the Jad Fairinator or the Moe Tuckerizer.

On a more visual front, Noise Is Information posts a cool stop action animation vid.

And Au carrefore étrange makes its own sweet way to May '68.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's About Time

I remember this show from when I was a preschool TV addict. Esp. Imogene Coca and Joe E. "Ooh! Ooh!" Ross.

phase three

Yes, these are sized down versions of three videos from a recent post. Shrunk to more easily fit together on a screen. Placed together to be played together all at once in a somewhat Steve Reich-ian fashion.

[Of course, the Standard Disclaimer applies: don't blame me if anything or anybody blows up. While trying to play three videos at once, your computer may crash or whatnot. Don't do this unless you're okay with that possibility from the outset. And if you're using someone else's computer, ask them first--or forget about it.]

On mine (an oldish iMac with a DSL connection), the images tend to shutter and the sounds will cutout & pop now and then. (Cool, huh?)

The middle video is only a minute long, but you can restart it. And the others can be stopped now and then for effect. The play/pause button won't start & stop on a dime, but some kind of control is there.

Have fun . . .

phasing in

I remember back 20-odd years ago reading a description of Steve Reich's Pendulum Music posted in a display case in Old Cabell Hall, the university Music Dept. building.

An art-damage post-punk garage pop troglodyte of sorts, I liked microphonic feedback (and still do). Dangling mikes swooping past amplifiers and creating yelps of feedback sounded like the coolest idea ever. And when I read how it all ended when the mikes had come to rest--by pulling the plug on the amplifiers--I knew I could trust this classical composer guy. When those mikes were at full screech, no one would want to get close enough to flick an off switch.

The above vid was just posted a week ago (thanks to angband621). And it's great, going the whole distance YouTube's 10 min. limit will allow. While I miss the plug-pulling coup de grace, with the gnarly reflections in that glass-walled room, a fade out may've been best for those closeby.

Here's a brief vid of another Pendulum Music performance (thanks to LiminalTube) done as part of Minimal at Liminal:

And here's an audiovisual version, Video Pendulum, done with two video cameras swinging over monitors (thanks to videoagogogo):

phased out & looping

Synthtopia posts about a cool speaker feedback array. Each of the five differently sized speakers are paired with a piezoelectric contact mike. An on/off switch and volume knob control each pair.

Anyhow, Synthtopia explains it well, talks about the gizmo's creator and has two performance videos, which I like playing (more or less) simultaneously.

Speaking of more or less simultaneously, Synthtopia also posted this video of one pianist playing Steve Reich's Piano Phase on two pianos.

And along similar lines of synchonization & feedback loops, a vid about porn Foley artists, which is either entirely for laughs or these Foley guys dabble in comedy as well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a world of photos & such

FABULON goes wild with Ann-Margret while giving the nod to likes of Anne Baxter, Donna Reed and Geraldine. Along with celebs known far & wide, there's a cool post re fashion photographer Lillian Bassman.

Being entirely ignorant of Bassman's work, I did a Google search which pulled up a few more of her photos (I particularly dig #2 & #14 from the Crack Series) but no Wikipedia entry . . .

Meanwhile, The Boat Lullabies has posted a sampling of photos from Square America's new series, On the Limits of Memory.

And Swapatorium has some cool buttons, international erasers and such.

coming and going

I'm Learning To Share put up a great post on the recently deceased artist Robert Rauschenberg. Includes a link to the New York Times obit. As Rauschenberg said of Josef Albers, one will likely be saying of Rauschenberg: "Years later . . I'm still learning what he taught me."

Singer Eddy Arnold who sang "Make The World Go Away" also died recently. The London Times has a nice obit.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

enduring and not so much

FABULON goes crazy on the voice and presence of Ann Wilson of Heart with two cool performance videos, one from back in the day and one recent. To the Wilson sisters and all that sail with them: Barracuda, indeed.

Having gone through a lot of old family stuff lately, I can appreciate Swapatorium's post of a cool old IBM ribbon box as well as the backstory.

With the many photos of funky retail items recently posted on uberkayness, I have to mention BrandlandUSA's latest post, When Will Richmond Bring Back Miller & Rhoads? M&R and its rival Thalheimer's were once the big stores in downtown Richmond long time ago.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

everybody wiki wiki

An entry on Noise Is Information turned me onto this essay by Clay Shirky, "Gin, Television, and Social Surplus". Shirky has a book out, Here Comes Everybody. No, haven't read it, but the essay is cool.

All "looking for the mouse" aside, the first time I heard the word "wiki" was when spoken by Kono (played by Zulu) on Hawaii Five-0.

Thursday, May 1, 2008